Monday, 9 March 2009

Early Orchids in Malaga Province.

Searching for rare Orchids in Malaga Province.

Ian Phillips an Orchid expert from Malaga and myself spent an exciting (well it was for me) few hours tracking down some very interesting species in the area around Alhaurín el Grande and Coin. The first site visited produced an amazing show of 100s of Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax) a single Man Orchid (Aceras anthropophorum) and many Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera). We moved on and with Ian's guidance and local knowledge of the area we managed to find a single spike of Atlas Orchid (Ophrys Atlantica)at the next site, a species I have wanted to see for many years and I was not disappointed. Also in the same area we saw Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii), Ophrys dyris and it's hybrid with Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca), Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) and Sawfly Orchid. We then moved to a site which is unfortunately under severe threat from a nearby quarry. Here we saw Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla) about 15/20 plants. Also seen were Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum), Somber Bee Orchid and Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea). The final location was in pine woodland near Alharín, we hoped for Atlas Orchids again but the site had been scrapped with some kind of digger, there were still some none flowering Orchids. In an abandoned orchard near by we found several spikes of both Fan-lipped (Orchis Collina) and Conical Orchids (Orchis Conica) and the very small Narcissus beticus. Other species seen included Barbary Knut (Gynandiris sisyrinchium), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Friar's Cowle (Arisarum vulgare) and Dutchmans Pipe (Aristolochia baetica). A couple of species of Butterfly were also noted including Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and Large White (Pieris brassicae) and just as we were leaving the last site a pale phase Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) was soaring quite close by.
Photographs from the top: Atlas Orchid (Ophrys Atlantica), Ophrys dyris and Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla).

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